March 12, 2003

Paper Moon "One Thousand Reasons to Stay, One Reason to Leave"

First listen, I automatically thought, "teen TV drama soundtrack." When I read the onesheet for One Thousand Reasons to Stay...One Reason to Leave, I learned that songs from main Moonie Allison Somers' previous band, B'ehl, had indeed made appearances on Dawson's Creek and other (assumably) teen shows. You know, it's kind of nice to recognize these things immediatly, but that's another matter altogether. One Thousand Reasons to Stay...One Reason to Leave would make great music for a kick-butt independently-minded smart teen who wants something more to life than angst and boy or girl trouble, yet doesn't want to be completely vapid, either.

Of course, if I had the opportunity to soundtrack a teen-oriented show, I'd probably include Paper Moon as well. They have that certain charm that would fit in nicely. You know--sweet, sassy, but not too threatening; quirky, poppy, different--but not too different, and always, ALWAYS, fun fun fun! Somers sounds like she suckled off the teat of Juliana Hatfield and Tanya Donnelly, but I wouldn't want it any other way. It's better to have too much candy than to have none at all, and while some might find Somers' voice dangerous to diabetics, I'm happily and unapologetically risking my life for a little Paper Moon.

See, that's the great thing about Paper Moon. While things I've seen or read about them mention new-wave, I'm not hearing it. Sure, Heather Campbell might have been a key keyboard player in that great, if-you-heard-them-you're-lucky new-wave band Bossanova, but all I'm hearing is alternative. You remember alternative, don't you? Sensitive, sincere lyrics made by Real College Graduates that aimed for the heart and the intelligence of the listener. Anyway, I loved those days...Belly was a great band, so was Juliana Hatfield 3, and I didn't shy away from a little Velocity Girl, Letters to Cleo, Cardigans or that dog. to brighten my day.

Sadly, those days just faded away, and alternative-lite like this quickly became passe, replaced by machismo-driven rap-rock and "I'm rich!" bland jock-rock. Happily, this hard truth doesn't phase Paper Moon one bit. From the lovely crash of "Your Thesaurus Won't Help You Now," it's rather obvious that they're partying like it's 1995, and they never once apologize for it. Why should they? Personally, I'm fond of the light and sweet "The History of Punctuation," but if you're fond of this sweet, sassy, and smarter'n'you pop, you'll find ten crushworthy songs here.

It's sad and frustrating that Paper Moon is still Canada's best-kept secret; I'll give you Celene Dion and Alanis Morrisette if you'll give us Paper Moon. Until that happens, just go and get One Thousand Reasons to Stay...One Reason to Leave. You'll be glad you did, and you'll feel smarter for it.

--Joseph Kyle

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